Home PublicationsData Innovators 5 Q’s for Michael Burdick, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Paro

5 Q’s for Michael Burdick, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Paro

by Becca Trate
Michael Burdick headshot

The Center for Data Innovation spoke with Michael Burdick, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Paro. The Chicago-based startup uses AI to streamline recruiting for the finance and accounting industries. Burdick shared insights on the candidate-matching process and the future role of AI in recruiting.

Becca Trate: Paro uses AI to recruit top-tier finance and accounting professionals. Can you share insights into the technology’s role for vetting and matching candidates with businesses?

Michael Burdick: AI is the driver for Paro in terms of the vetting and matching processes for recruitment. Paro’s technology for vetting involves a multi-step process that’s quasi-structured. It begins with filling out a data-rich profile that serves as an application. This is mined to flag and signal expert candidates, who go through practice projects, interviews, background checks, and more in a highly automated, data-oriented, end-to-end process. The process ends, of course, with the human element making final decisions.

The matching process is where the real fun begins. On the demand side, a business wants to work with a subject matter expert who knows the space and can solve a specific problem, but maybe they can’t afford the highest level of consulting. We build a complete professional profile of the experts on our platform, and our AI screeners parse and match candidates based on precisely what the client is looking for at that time to identify the best fit. You could think of it as a dating platform. Using an infinite array of data points, we can match experts to a project based on specific needs, goals, and the experts’ unique skill sets, ensuring the best value for both parties.

Trate: How does Paro’s proprietary AI technology ensure a precise match between freelance professionals and businesses?

Burdick: Paro’s proprietary platform uses algorithms trained by thousands of business inputs to identify and recommend the precise expertise businesses need to help solve organizational demands and gain a competitive advantage. Our AI matching technology also determines the exact financial talent businesses need 20x faster than traditional recruitment.

Whenever Paro makes a match, it begins with a client who wants a subject matter expert who knows their space well and can help solve their business needs.

Our AI technology leverages the data on the platform to find the best-fit expert who matches what they want and need regarding work, schedule, and pricing. A key element in ensuring a precise match is price discovery. Professional services have infinite permutations with no structured confines on price; everything is relative to each person and what they value. Price discovery is complex, and Paro’s technology helps experts understand suitable projects to bid on based on their unique needs, career goals, professional development, and expertise. Using marketplace data, our AI algorithm suggests an optimal hourly rate for certain projects.

Trate: Recruiting in specialized sectors, like finance, is incredibly competitive. How does Paro leverage AI to maintain an edge in identifying and attracting elite talent?

Burdick: Paro’s community represents the top 2 percent of finance and accounting experts across the United States, including many from the Big 4 and Fortune 500.

We use AI technology to empower top industry experts to reimagine work and build a thriving business—all while increasing their earning potential and improving their quality of life. Experts gain a competitive advantage through Paro’s best-fit opportunity predictor that matches them with business challenges and pre-qualified projects that their expertise is uniquely suited to address. The Paro AI-powered growth platform develops their pipeline of business to drive predictable income and unlimited opportunity while also giving them the productivity tools and insights to optimize their growing business, from pricing to performance, CRM to ROI.

That said, the freelance economy is becoming more attractive to people in every industry, not because of AI but because of its benefits. People can earn what they want, doing things they love and are passionate about while achieving their long-term goals. Our AI helps them get there faster.

Trate: How does Paro streamline the recruitment process, from sourcing to onboarding professionals, using AI?

Burdick: By applying our proprietary AI algorithms, our platform optimizes talent matching by accurately and efficiently parsing resumes while also helping experts write predictive executive summaries based on backgrounds and work history. From there, we use our proprietary AI data sets to help match experts to projects and set their rates using a formula that considers their skills, experience, and the type of work needed on a project.

Paro’s matching algorithm also evaluates marketplace variables, enabling companies to allocate resources efficiently and precisely pair supply with demand to significantly reduce recruitment time and onboarding since the expert already has the skill set to hit the ground running.

While each project includes a Paro team member who helps ensure the engagement is successful, using AI to help match experts takes a lot of friction and time out of the process. Our AI also enables experts to build contracts directly, quickly, and efficiently in the platform to ensure the engagement kicks off with total alignment across both parties.

Trate: How do you envision the role of AI evolving in the recruitment industry in the future?

Burdick: AI is undoubtedly transforming recruitment, along with every other industry, but AI is always only as good as the data. Data is a force multiplier, so the specificity and depth of the data is incredibly important. AI applications are more powerful the more specific they are. For example, recruiting a CFO is very different from recruiting a copywriter, so AI’s impact and benefit vary by industry, even within the recruiting realm.

Paro plans to continue innovating our technology. We’re doubling down on existing AI products to expand our platform and providing a suite of AI tools for experts that enable them to run businesses more efficiently.

A big part of the future of work is team dynamics, and that’s where Paro is focused this year. How can our experts build their teams through Paro’s AI technology platform, and how can they effectively assemble a specific team to tackle complex problems? Empowering business professionals to quickly build solid and strategic teams, along with bolstering price discovery, are two frontiers Paro is working to advance.


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